Thank you Noel Park Labour Party

I am really grateful to Noel Park Labour Party members for putting their trust in me again to represent them as a Labour Party candidate in the local elections in May 2022.

I cut my teeth in politics as the chair of Noel Park Labour Party between 2010 and 2012. After I returned from work abroad and the opportunity to stand in local elections arose, Noel Park was the natural choice for me. It has been an enormous honour and privilege to represent the people of Noel Park since my election in May 2018.

I look forward to working with local Labour Party members to ensure that Labour is once again overwhelmingly the largest party in Haringey at the May 2022 elections.

An independent review of Love Lane estate demolition ballot

At the Cabinet meeting on 18 January 2022, I made the following representations why there should be an independent review of the Love Lane estate demolition ballot:

“At its meeting on 29 November 2021, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard evidence from a deputation calling into question integrity and the validity of the estate demolition ballot that had taken place in relation to the proposed Love Lane Estate.

The Committee recommended that there should be an independent review into the conduct of the Love Lane estate demolition ballot.

I refer to the Cabinet response on page 131 of the Agenda Pack to reject the Scrutiny recommendation for an independent review. The Cabinet’s reasons are set out on the next six pages.

This is extremely disappointing and I call on the Cabinet to reconsider its initial response. And to vote for an independent review this evening.

The Love Lane Estate demolition ballot was historic. It was the first ballot of its kind that took place in Haringey. In years to come when this regeneration scheme has gone ahead, we do not want to hear allegations that the ballot was questionable.

Surely, an independent review is the right thing to do.

We have heard representations from campaigners this evening, at the O&S Committee meeting in late November 2021, at the Housing and Regen Scrutiny Panel meeting in early November 2021 and we have received emails with evidence of alleged interference in the ballot.

An independent review will clarify what actually happened. If the Council is right that nothing happened that calls into question the integrity and the validity of the ballot, then the independent review will scrutinise that evidence objectively and give the council a clean bill of health. So, the Council has nothing to fear. It has nothing to lose.

An independent review makes sense.

In the agenda pack tonight, the Cabinet has presented six pages of explanation why the ballot was proper. Well, the work has already been done – this can be submitted to the independent review panel to look at.

Whichever way you look at it, an independent review would be the most sensible thing to do and I call on the Cabinet to reverse its initial response and approve an independent review this evening.”

Councillor report – November 2021

In this report, I have provided a summary of all the work I have been doing over the past few weeks. As well as my role as a ward councillor, I chair the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Turnpike Lane Strategy Group.

Meeting with Parkside Malvern Residents Association

On 19 October 2021, my ward colleagues and I met representatives of Parkside Malvern Residents Association (PMRA). They have longstanding concerns about Hornsey Park Road spanning over a couple of decades. These include the use of the road as a ‘rat run’, vehicles driving down it really fast causing vibrations in properties and the way cars are parked partly on the kerb. They also presented ideas for a new zebra crossing which is due to be installed on the road beside the new children’s park on the St. Williams development on Clarendon Road.

PMRA has been particularly active over the years and raised these concerns through a petition and Catherine West MP. They have also developed a strategy for the road. I hope that we, as a council will be able to adopt their strategy and address most of the concerns. It is a shame that these concerns have now existed for such a long period of time.

Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) Scrutiny Review

At the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC Committee) Meeting which I chaired on 7 October 2021, the OSC Committee formally adopted VAWG as the main focus of the scrutiny review over the coming months. This will involve gathering evidence from various stakeholders and those involved in the work around VAWG.

On 14 October 2021, I chaired the first evidence gathering session on the VAWG scrutiny review. Both Manju Lukhman, Strategic Lead and Commissioner and Dr Will Maimaris, Director for Public Health gave evidence to the OSC Committee. They talked about the work that the council is doing and highlighted the council’s 10-year VAWG strategy which is available at:

https://www.haringey.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/public-health/domestic-violence-and-abuse-and-violence-against-women-and-girls/violence-against-women-and-girls/haringeys-approach-violence-against-women-and-girls

Although OSC Committee originally set out to do a review into knife and gun crime, we decided to shift our focus on VAWG because there is a real possibility of effecting a policy change in this area especially because the Met Police are also reviewing their policy.

I appeal to Labour Party members to send in their evidence on VAWG to the OSC Committee (via me) or contact me if you want to give evidence or suggest individual(s) or group(s) to give evidence. We have a team of officers who are providing dedicated support to the OSC Committee. We want to take this opportunity to carry out a thorough review so that we can put forward recommendations in the new year.

Ducketts Common and Turnpike Lane Area

Residents and businesses continue to have concerns around crime and the fear of crime in the Ducketts Common and Turnpike Lane area. I did a walkabout with Met Police in September. I have since kept in touch with the police to monitor the effectiveness of ‘Project Taipan’ which has a focus on the area. Sergeant Clarke leads the unit with nine constables.

I understand that the unit issued Community Protection Notices to known gang members for possession of drugs and drug paraphrenia. They have also made a series of arrets and applied for a Criminal Behaviour Order.

If members would find it useful, I can invite the unit to a future branch meeting to give further information on the work they are doing in the Ducketts Common and Turnpike Lane area.

Easte Demolition Ballot – High Road West

This is relevant to Noel Park as we have high profile council estates in our ward some of which were previously slated for demolition. The first ever estate demolition ballot in Haringey took place on the Love Lane Estate as part of the High Road West regeneration scheme. In my capacity as the chair of the OSC Committee, I have received various emails and representations about alleged voter intimidation and interference with the estate demolition ballot that took place. As I reported to you previously, the OSC Committee has just completed the review into High Road West scheme. The recommendations will be published at the 29 November 2021 OSC Committee meeting. We are currently looking into what we can recommend in terms of the allegations into how the Love Lane estate demolition ballot was conducted.

Campaigning

There was a very successful canvassing session in Noel Park and a street stall outside Wood Green library on Saturday 9 October 2021. We need to organise more regular canvassing sessions in Noel Park in the coming weeks. The borough organiser, Harry Owen will need our December dates by 24 November so that they can be advertised to members.

Face to face surgery

My experience is that the level of casework I have handled during the pandemic has not dwindled even though we did not have face to face surgeries. I have been available on my council phone and email to receive residents’ enquiries. However, I sense that some residents have a strong preference to meet their Councillors face to face. My next surgery is on Saturday 6 November from 10.30am to 11.30am in Wood Green library.

Councillor report – October 2021

In this report, I have provided a summary of all the work I have been doing over the past few weeks. As well as my role as a ward councillor, I chair the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Turnpike Lane Strategy Group.

Walkabout on Turnpike Lane with Met Police

On 16 September 2021, I joined police officers and Harringay councillor colleagues for a walkabout on Turnpike Lane. The area around Ducketts Common has unfortunately become a crime hotspot with four murders taking place this year. This has led to an increase in the fear of crime in the area.

I also raised concerns about drug dealing taking place from addresses on Alexandra Palace and antisocial behaviour around the area. Police officers assured that additional resources are being put into Turnpike Lane.

Sandbunker Community Centre’s 21st anniversary

On 25 September 2021, I joined the community at the Sandlings to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Sandbunker Community Centre. This was one of the first community events that I attended since the pandemic began. I spoke about the commitment that this Labour administration has in building council homes. We are on target to deliver 1000 council homes by 2022. This is the first time in over 40 years that the council is building council homes.

Turnpike Lane Joint Strategy Group

I chaired the meeting of the Turnpike Lane Strategy Working Group on 6 October 2021 from 4pm to 5.45pm. A series of short, medium and long term improvement plans for Turnpike Lane have been drawn up. Met Police also provided an update on the work that they are doing to address crime and grime in the area.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Haringey is the worst borough in London for knife crime. It is the sixth highest in London for gun crime. There is renewed focus on VAWG in the aftermath of the brutal murder of Sabina Nessa.

We are appealing to residents to take part in the scrutiny review. Please contact me if you want to provide evidence to the scrutiny committee.

High Road West

In my role as chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, I have overseen a major scrutiny review into the High Road West scheme. Although this is not in Noel Park, the recommendations from the review will be relevant to any regeneration scheme that takes place in Haringey. We are currently finalising the recommendations with a view to publishing them towards the end of this month.

Café Roj

Projected image of Café Roj

There is good news about Café Roj in Ducketts Common. Works are due to start on 11 October 2021 and complete by the end of March 2022.

As well as providing a nicely designed café for the park, the facility will have:

•           A fully accessible toilet available to the public and managed by the café leaseholder.

•           The café will have capacity for seating 20 people.

•           A community, bookable event space managed by the café leaseholder that can be used for community groups.

The police have been involved throughout the design process and the cafe will provide a 360-degree view of the park (see indicative image attached).

Face to face surgery

On Saturday 9 October 2021, I resume my face-to-face surgery at the Wood Green Library at 10.30am. I will continue this every second Saturday of the month. I am also available for a roving surgery to meet residents or residents’ groups at their place.